To the Novato City Council:
Having just read the conclusion of the throughout California as well as ruling it illegal to continue to fund them in any manner, it is my hope that the current council will immediately stop any efforts to build a downtown office complex, that they will repay the bond debt created to fund this project and that they will instead purchase an existing class B office building to house city workers.
Throughout 2011 the council has been approached by many residents who have said this project is fiscally unsound. A petition has circulated to stop the council from pursuing the development of a costly downtown civic center using RDA funds that have no way of being repaid because of a lack of property tax revenue as well as the Governor's decision early in 2011 to close the RDA. Our city council refused to listen to residents who claimed we would do better buying a modest existing office and use the downtown property to fund a public/private partnership with a mix of retail, commercial and parking. Our city council gambled hundreds of thousands of dollars by moving ahead and creating a non taxable bond that was sold to fund the project by keeping the RDA open.
Had our city council considered some of the alternatives being suggested they would have saved vital tax dollars, but instead they have continued to follow the same path of bloated government using tax dollars to fund projects that may appear attractive but do nothing to help create tax dollars to support city services. A public-private partnership on a project such as the downtown civic center would have allowed us to defray costs and create a source of badly needed revenue by working with the private sector rather than using state tax dollars. Over the years prominent Novato citizens have made this suggestion and been flatly turned down. We can't afford to continue to live as if the money will flow in through the state coffers and cover all our costs. The city must live within its means just as families are struggling to do and just as the state is struggling to do in order to avoid bankruptcy.
I implore the Novato City Council to take immediate steps to repay the loan that no longer has funding through the RDA and to purchase modest city offices at a reduced cost. Moreover I demand that the Novato City Council listen to the voice of reason as well as the many voices of Novato residents when making financial decisions whose outcomes will affect our lives for generations. Now is not the time to live lavishly. You are accountable to all your constituents not just the ones that agree with you. Every decision you make determines the quality of our lives as a whole. Our city, whose bottom line is creating revenue to fund city services, should be run like a business. Our city coffers are not the personal piggy banks of our council members. Their job is to keep the city running in a fiscally responsible manner. That means focusing on planning and the economy. We need a council that understands and accepts the reality of the tremendous debt that is burying our state. We need a council that will act with prudence and show respect for the people they serve.